Diego Simeone defended his decision not to rotate his Atletico Madrid squad for Saturday’s clash with Deportivo La Coruna, despite their impending Champions League game against PSV.
Barcelona rested Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Dani Alves for their 6-0 thrashing of Getafe, but Simeone opted to field a strong side including Antoine Griezmann, Koke and Diego Godin for the 3-0 win at the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico remain eight points behind Barca despite their win, yet Simeone insists he will not prioritise matches as he looks to secure at least a top-three finish during the final nine games in La Liga.
“We’re competing with Real Madrid and Barcelona, who have fantastic squads,” he said. “The most important game of the season was Deportivo – that’s why I didn’t rotate. Now the most important game is PSV.
“The goal is to be among the top three. So we go out with the possibility of being first, as we did a few years ago, or of being second, as we are now.
“We’ve found a regularity and a way of playing which is much more stable.”
Angel Correa came off the bench to score the third goal after Saul Niguez and Antoine Griezmann’s strikes and the Argentine is eager for his side to sustain their strong home form as they look to reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.
“It’s always great to score, but the important thing is that Atletico win,” he said.
“We have to keep going like this, doing our work and staying strong at home until the end of the season. Now we have another final on Tuesday.”
Atletico face the Dutch champions having drawn 0-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie last month.